Just as exciting are a series of lower cost virtual reality systems that are priced from $100-$300. While these may not have all the bells and whistles of the Oculus device the initial reports are they are still quite impressive and will be game changers in the way some information is distributed.
The general public thinking is these devices will be cool for gamers and a possible upgrade to a movie experience. But smart business owners will want to think through the possibilities for virtual reality in enhancing their business or product presentations. Here are 10 ideas that may be a nice fit for virtual reality.
1) Real Estate
VR home presentations could transform the way people view homes. Currently home buyers are relegated to a slide show of tiny images that show a home from one photographer’s point of view. But imagine if from your home you could strap on a VR headset and walk through your potential new home. It would help a buyer understand the home’s flow better. Open up closets and doors to see what is behind them. Walk up stairs or check out the exterior landscaping. Especially for premium homes a VR presentation could close the deal.
2) Travel Industry
Not everyone has the money to board a plane and visit exotic places they would love to see. While there have always been video and movies that show us far off destinations Virtual Reality would present new opportunities to immerse yourself into new locations. Walk down side streets of Paris or Rome. This could even be of great use in advance of a trip or as a way of deciding which location might be best or a certain type of traveler. Google Earth has helped in searching out details of other places but VR could set the bar so much higher.
3) Training Companies
Having been in the HVAC business for a while I found there were two kinds of training: passive and active. For the type of work HVAC was it was difficult to really learn from books or videos. They are helpful but not quite the same as looking into the heart of a heating system and seeing how very different each system is. Virtual Reality could bridge the gap in this type of training by immersing the student in the atmosphere they will find themselves working in day-to-day.
4) Trade Shows
Sometimes it simply isn’t feasible to send people to trade shows. Time isn’t always available, money might be tight and if it is a show that you’re unaware of then you may not recognize the value in attending. However what if you could visit a show and walk the aisles. Viewing live demonstrations, seeing products in action, watching other’s reactions to a product or service. It would be possible to gain a similar experience to actually being at a show or event. It may even be possible to link into a VR product demonstration from the VR trade show tour. At the minimum, the VR experience may confirm your thinking on whether or not an actual visit to the show is warranted.
5) Remote Assistance
When it comes to getting help for business or personal issues most of us end up getting it online or via a phone call. The prohibitive cost now days to send a serviceman to an individual business or home makes the personal kind of service our parents may have received pretty much unthinkable today. However with virtual reality it might be possible to bring a repairman to our homes without him ever having to be there. For example, if a VR visit could diagnose a problem with a television, it would be possible to then send out a repairman with the part to fix it in one visit. Contractors could make VR visits to a site and get valuable information to help in planning and pricing a project.
6) Retail Shopping Industry
Everyone knows that online shopping is slowly taking over as the preferred standard for buying. For the buyer it becomes easy to compare products and pricing and for the seller the lack of overhead and staffing allows them to keep product prices at a minimum. That said there is something lost in actually seeing products in a live setting where we can pick them up, touch and examine them. So imagine now a virtual store where you could walk the aisles to see what is available and then get a demonstration or explanation from a virtual salesperson. Better yet, imagine a virtual shopping mall that you can walk through and choose which stores to go in and explore. See what you like and check out, all from the comfort of your armchair but without the tedium of typing and clicking a laptop or cell phone.
7) Concerts – Events
Many of us love a good concert. Seeing live performances provide an experience that can’t be matched on TV or radio. The noises, bumping in the crowds and mass volumes of people are exhilarating. However for many people who might enjoy a concert or two, the hassle-factor of lines, crowds and parking is unappealing enough to keep them at home more often than they might like. Consider the virtual concert where you can get a 20th row, center stage seat and get the wildness of a concert experience without the headaches. With virtual reality, if you want to walk about and get a view from another location, you simply getup as you might in a regular venue. It would be an exciting new concept in presenting live performances that allows more of a full experience vs. simply watching on a large screen in a theater or in a family room.
8) Sales Support
When a buyer is considering a new product, and a salesperson is making a closing pitch, one of the key steps is often to get the buyer to make a factory/plant/warehouse visit where they can see how their product would be produced and the expertise on hand to make it happen. This assures the buyer they are most likely going to get what they are considering buying. However in this global business climate factories are no longer just an hour away. Many times a USA buyer is ordering from a company that is manufacturing out of Asia and a buying visit can take months to plan. A virtual tour using VR is a way for a company to see how their supplier operates. It’s more that snapshots. They see the scope of the manufacturing facility. The people and how they are dressed, how clean the shop floor is. How in depth is the support office. A virtual reality factory/plant/warehouse tour could take the place of much wasted travel and expedite the sales process as a result.
9) Hotel Industry
How many of us who have planned travel and booked a hotel and crossed our fingers before we arrived that our hotel choice didn’t turn out to be a bad choice, or worse off, a disaster. Online booking systems often show retouched images of properties along with images that may have been taken years ago. Not to mention the pictures they forgot to include, like the loud night club next door or any other issue that a traveler only finds out when they arrive. A virtual reality tour of a hotel property would reveal a more complete picture of the property, the rooms and the surroundings so we could make a more educated and less-risky decision. Imagine being able to virtually walk into specific hotel rooms and see the view, the location in relation to meeting rooms, ice machines, elevators and other amenities we may want to consider. A virtual tour would be ideal for everyone from the head of the family trying to find a place where his kids will be happy to the head of a business event who wants to see meeting and banquet rooms at a hotel across the country.
Just about everyone who has cable TV has scanned past that dreaded series of CSPAN channels on their way to a much more exciting movie or show they want to watch. Only our government could sustain a show with such traditionally low ratings that any other business would have given up on. But imagine if rather than watching your senate or congress in action you could actually grab a seat in the Capitol Building and see what really goes on. Would the high amount of empty chairs make you angry at your government? Would you be looking at what your specific Congressman or Senator was doing as others spoke. The idea of getting immersed in government might literally give us a new perspective on how our government works. It might even get more of us involved in what is going on in our world.
As these ideas reveal, the use for the new virtual reality technology is endless. Companies embracing this new technology will invariably become the leaders of tomorrow. As we have learned with other presentation technology, some ideas succeed and some fail, however the innovative companies that take advantage of this game changing technology are sure to benefit from it and the learning it will provide.